Tuesday, December 11, 2007


That is what my husband said when he called me after dropping off my mother - bless her heart - at the airport this morning after her five-day visit.

We had flown her in for Sawyer's fourth birthday party, which we had Saturday. Now that my father is gone, I think it's important for her not to be alone too much. My brother and his family live relatively close to her, but she doesn't get along well with my SIL and she doesn't see them a lot.

The party was first-thing Saturday morning, so we ran errands on Friday and things seemed to be going okay. She was helpful in getting stuff ready, including making this ginormous dirt cake which required us doubling a recipe. That contained fractions. Tricky ones, like 4 3/4. Let's just say my mother had her calculator out and we STILL couldn't figure it out.

We are the stupidest people on the planet.

Somehow, it came out fabulously and the party was great. She enjoyed talking to my friends. She even helped clean up.

Then it was all downhill, people. DOWN. HILL.

We know the ground-rules going in. She doesn't sit on the floor with the kids. She hates our couch, because, you know, it's like, squishy, so she parks herself on the dining room chair. And knits socks. Or plays Suduko. Or eats.

Notice there is nothing in there about playing with the kids? There's a reason for this. It's because she doesn't.

Sawyer started off the visit by wanting to sit in her lap and saying "I love you Grandma" many times. Let's just say that when she left this morning, he gave her a hug and ran off. I asked him later if he had fun with her, and he was basically like "meh."

Why? Because most of her interactions with him involved her repeating my discipline "Mommy just told you NOT to do that so you need to STOP IT!" while poor Sawyer's face fell.

He got a new train set and excitedly yelled "Grandma! Grandma! Come see!" after he'd set it up in the garage. She would answer "After I finish.." lunch, the paper, watching me do the dishes - anything but going in and celebrating with him.

It didn't stop with him, though.

She wanted to buy me a Chanukah gift, so off we went to the mall. For 2 1/2 hours. And I found nothing that either fit or wasn't too expensive, which completely pissed her off because I'm "impossible to buy for." On the way home, I could see some snow-covered mountains, which is always a thrilling sight when you live in SoCal.

Her response? "I have mountains all around me at home. Snowcovered mountains do not impress me." Ooooookay....

The funniest part of that was she used the same line on David this morning when they were driving to the airport.

Apparently, our parenting skills also did not impress her. And because she has raised THREE CHILDREN and is the VOICE OF EXPERIENCE, she felt it necessary to impart her myriad parenting tips on us.

And boy, there were some gems.

My favorite one came last night. After dinner, the kids were playing with the light switches in the dining area. We were sitting at the table and had a clear view of them, as they were about three feet away from us.

My mother actually stood up - I know! - and went over and told them to stop and physically moved Sage's hand away from the switch.

When we told her to knock it off, her reply was "When it COMES to SAFETY, I HAVE to step IN" as if David and I are a bunch of crackheads who're letting our kids practice lighting the pipe. Not on HER watch. Nosiree.

I mean, if they were sticking a fork in the outlet and we just sat there, that's one thing, but a light switch? Dangerous?

Maybe she still sees me as a kid. She's letting me play Mommy, but only until I've chopped my doll's hair off or put my stuffed puppy in the oven.

I was not sorry when she left. And judging from how fast she ran out of the house, she wasn't sorry to leave. I asked Sage to give her a hug, and Sage, being 2, said "No. No hug!"

My mother's response?

"If you're not going to hug me, then I'm not going to hug YOU. I'll just say "bye-bye."

Well, she learned HER.

And off she went. No thank-you, no nothing. No hug for me either.

I know you'll be shocked to hear me say that I know my mother is not the warm-and-fuzzy type. But it's unfortunate that she can't relax and just enjoy the energy and exuberant happiness and even the tears that little kids are made of.

At one point she told me that she knows that this time, with active little kids, must seem really long to me, but that it really goes by quickly.

And I had to disagree. I love this age, Sawyer at a few days short of 4 and Sage a few months past 2. Sure, there are frustrations (like when someone pooped on the floor today) and stress and exhaustion, but it is more than made up for by how much they make us laugh and learning that you can, in fact, love them even more than you did yesterday.

I wonder if she missed that when she was a mother. I know she's missing it as a grandmother.

And that's just sad.


Janine said...

That is so sad. Sometimes grandma's are like that, they just cannot find their place within a kid's life. It is like they are too uptight to just have fun and stop being a parent. I know you were probably looking forward to the trip to spend time with your mom, but it ended with disappointment - that just plain sucks. I am sorry you and your family went through that. My mom has many of her own wacky quirks that gives me and DH hours upon hours each week of "material" to discuss. gotta love the grandparents....

Melissa said...

No! NO! Not the LIGHTSWITCH!!! It's sooooo DANGEROUS - Aaargh!

That is such a bummer. I love this stage of being a mother. I wish every day that it would slow down a little. And, being a grandmother should be even better. You get all the fun of playing with the kids and gathering up their hugs and love, without having to discipline them (or clean up poop from the carpet.) It's too bad she doesn't see that. But, at least YOU and DH are enjoying every moment with your angels! (Even when they're little devils!) ;)

Cheryl said...

Hey Janine! Long time no "see!" And yes, DH and I have been reliving some of the more glorious moments of the visit..

Melissa - My kids? Devils? NEVER! LOL Meanwhile, I can't believe Sawyer is going to be FOUR tomorrow..

Simply Lovely Gifts said...

Sorry the visit was such a disappointment. I think maybe at some stage, you just lose the ability to relate to the younger kids? Oh well, her loss :-(

Cheryl said...

Leslie - We definitely are going to need a GMWS site when we all have grandkids!

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